Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Conference Oct. 16


Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Conference Oct. 16 

Las Cumbres Community Services invites people to attend its third Grandparents Raising Grandparents conference from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16 at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. The free conference brings together grandparents and other relatives raising a child as well as professionals and organizations working with families, child advocacy and policy development. The conference will include presentations and information booths with resources on health and safety, parenting, adoption and legal services.

To register, please call (505) 753-4123 in Española or register on line at Morning snacks and box lunch will be provided. Professionals can receive CEU credits through New Mexico Highlands University’s Social Work Department, for general and cultural criteria, for a processing fee of $50.

Grandparents in New Mexico, and nationwide, are increasingly raising their grandchildren due to factors that prevent the biological parents from caring for their children. These risk factors include death, divorce, incarceration, substance abuse, and domestic violence. In New Mexico, more than 24,100 grandchildren younger than six are living with their grandparents who are responsible for their care, according to New Mexico Voices for Children and Annie E. Casey Kids Count data. Grandparents raising grandchildren are faced with financial, physical and emotional demands as well as roadblocks with legal issues and navigating systems in their parenting roles. High rates of domestic violence, teen births, and other social issues further complicate grandparents’ involvement. Grandchildren may be grieving the absence of a parent, and the reasons which put the children in the care of their grandparents may cause developmental delays leading to poor physical and mental health later in life if left unaddressed when the children are young.

At the Otra Vez: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren 2015 Statewide Conference, Sen. Michael Padilla, D-Bernalillo, will present the keynote. Sen. Padilla has introduced family support services legislation in recent legislative sessions and is familiar with the concerns of families in the state having grown up with various family members and is a strong advocate for early childhood education and special needs advocacy. Dolores Roybal, executive director of Con Alma Health Foundation, will facilitate a group panel discussion focusing on raising awareness about the growing trend of grandparents caring for their grandchildren, exploring the reasons and how to reverse or decrease this alarming movement. Additional presenters will include representatives from New Mexico’s departments of Health and Aging and Long-Term Services, Pegasus Legal Services for Children, Española Public Schools, Tewa Women United, the Children Youth and Families Department of New Mexico, New Mexico Intertribal Community Services and AARP. Representatives from ENLACE, a statewide collaboration of “gente” who represent the voices of underrepresented children and families – people who have not traditionally had a say in policy initiatives that have had direct impact on their communities or their families – will be on hand to assist with facilitation.

The conference is supported by presenting sponsor Con Alma Health Foundation, as well as co-sponsors Brindle Foundation, George Chandler, El Cento Family Health, Los Alamos National Bank, McCune Charitable Foundation, Molina Healthcare  and the Santa Fe Community Foundation.

Incorporated in 1971, Las Cumbres provides a broad range of programs in Child and Family Services; Adult Services for individuals with developmental disabilities; and Respite Care.  The agency serves Santa Fe, Rio Arriba, Taos, and Los Alamos counties through direct care initiatives and the entire state through outreach, advocacy, and training activities, reaching more than 6,000 individuals each year. Today, the agency is one of the largest social service providers in Northern New Mexico.